Basso: Compromise needed as small business tries to climb Trump’s wall

By Rob Basso

A strong immigration policy is an absolute necessity to keep America safe and to preserve our core values. A wall, a fence, drones, lasers from space; nothing will keep people from their desire to be part of something special we have in this nation.

The promise of America is irresistible and also something to be protected. While fortune at times favors the bold, I am in favor of discourse, debate and compromise in this matter. The new Congress and the President must give this issue their full attention now. Each day that they don’t take action, small business owners and the economy as a whole suffers.

Click here to read the full article on LIBN.com

 

Associated HCM CEO, Rob Basso, featured in LIBN Who’s Who

Long Island is comprised of companies that provide services to other companies. Regardless of what service they offer, they keep their clients on top of their game so they can compete in today’s business environment.

LIBN featured Rob Basso, along with some of Long Island’s other business services leaders in their latest edition of “Who’s Who.” Click here to learn about our CEO!  

Rob Basso on Profit Express: Pursuing Your Passion

PART 1  |  PART 2

Pursuing Your Passion

You have no doubt heard that Pursuing Your Passion is the way to go when starting a business. Maybe it is – maybe it isn’t.

Let’s face it starting a business requires a series of gut wrenching decisions to get it right. What happens if Pursuing Your Passion doesn’t pay? My guest, Founder and CEO of Associated HCM, Rob Basso pursued the right business model. Find out how he is now running his 2nd successful startup after just having sold his 1st which he created 20 years ago.

Does Pursuing Your Passion Pay the Bills?

Rob Basso didn’t necessarily see the payroll industry as a sexy industry or a passion he was pursuing. He did see payroll as a great business model that offers a critical service that can help so many other small businesses grow. As a goal driven, motivated entrepreneur, Rob pursued his dream of owning a successful business and created Advantage Payroll.

When I asked Rob how do you know which is the right company to start he said, “Investigate industries that interest you and that make money!” It’s not always about pursuing passion – especially if it doesn’t pay.

Time to Sell

After having built a successful company over the last 20 years, the time to sell was right. This past April Rob sold Advantage Payroll to the $3 billion dollar giant! It turns out his passion was for his people. When he sold, it ended up being a very emotional time for him as he was saying goodbye to some of the people he worked with since day one.

Motivation is Key

Rob is motivated to capitalize on his payroll experience and reach the growth he did with Advantage in half the time! I asked Rob what he felt was more important – motivation or confidence. Rob said, “If I had to choose one I would say motivation is more important. It is what gets you up in the morning. It gets you out of bed and puts a smile on your face to close the deal.”

Important ACA Deadlines and Consent Information

Filing of 2018 Forms

  • Forms must be furnished to employees no later than January 31, 2019.
  • Forms 1094-C and 1095-C must be filed to the IRS by February 28, 2019 if filing on paper.
  • Forms must be filed by April 1, 2019 if filing electronically.
  • For final 2018 1094-C and 1095-C instructions, please visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i109495c.pdf.

Consent to furnish 1095-C Statements electronically

Unless an employees has given specific consent to provide their form electronically, all forms must be furnished to employees by mail or delivered by hand.

For those employers that would like to furnish the forms electronically, the employee must confirm his or her consent electronically, to demonstrate the ability to retrieve the electronic form. A statement may be furnished electronically by informing the individual how to access the statement on the employer’s website. The consent must relate specifically to receiving the Form 1095-C electronically.

New York Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements Finalized

The New York State Department of Labor (NYDOL) has released a finalized sexual harassment prevention policy, poster, complaint form, training materials, and minimum training standards. As anticipated, some of the most onerous requirements have been relaxed.

Notably, employers are now required to provide training to all employees by October 9, 2019 (instead of January 1), and new employees must be trained “as quickly as possible” (instead of within 30 days). Most of the policy and training requirements remain the same, though some have been clarified. Below are the basic requirements.

The entirety of the materials and requirements can be found here.

Training
The state has provided compliant training materials for employers to use free of charge. This includes a PowerPoint presentation, script, and case scenarios.

The training may be presented to employees individually or in groups. It may be presented in person, on the phone, or as a webinar or recorded presentation. The training should do as many of the following as possible to meet the requirement that it be interactive:

  • Ask employees questions as part of the program
  • Allow employees to ask questions, with answers provided in a timely manner
  • Require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented

The model training released by the NYDOL includes detailed instructions as well as an 18-page script. It is available here.

Employers who choose to deviate from the materials provided by the state must ensure that their training is interactive and includes the following (these requirements have not changed since the draft materials were released):

  • An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYDOL
  • Examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
  • Information regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
  • Information about employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for resolving complaints
  • Information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors

Policy and Complaint Form
The state has provided a model policy, which we recommend employers adopt. It is available here. A model complaint form is available on the same page and should be provided with the policy. Employers must provide every employee with their policy in writing, either on paper or electronically. If employers only provide an electronic copy, employees must be able to print it from a work computer.

The policy requirement goes into effect on October 9, 2018. Current employees should be provided with the policy as soon as possible, and new employees should be provided with the policy immediately upon hire. Although an acknowledgement form is not required by law, we strongly suggest employers collect one from each employee.

Employers who choose to write their own policy must ensure that it does all the following (these requirements have not changed since the draft materials were released):

  • Prohibits sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYDOL
  • Provides examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
  • Includes information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws
  • Includes a complaint form
  • Includes a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties
  • Informs employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for resolving sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially
  • Clearly states that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals who engage in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior
  • Clearly states that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful

Poster
Employers are encouraged but not required to fill out and post the Sexual Harassment Prevention Poster in a conspicuous location in the workplace. A Word document is available for download in the same location as the model policy, here.

 

Please contact your Payroll Specialist if you have additional questions. Not a client yet? Request a quote today!

New Jersey Sick Leave Update

Paid Sick Leave

New Jersey has become the 10th state to adopt mandatory paid sick leave. It goes into effect on October 29, 2018. The state sick leave law overrules all municipal ordinances, which will have no force and effect after October 29th. Employers who already have a leave policy in place (including those based on a municipal ordinance) are free to continue to use that policy so long as it is at least as generous as what is required by the state. They should, however, be sure to comply with the state’s notice requirements.

Applicability

All New Jersey employers, regardless of size, must provide employees with paid sick leave. The only employees exempt from the law are construction workers subject to a collective bargaining agreement, per diem healthcare workers, and those employed by a public agency who receive sick leave through another program.

Accrual and Carryover

All employees, whether temporary, part-time, full-time, salaried, hourly, or paid on commission, must accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap an employee’s sick leave accrual and use at 40 hours per benefit year.

The employer and employee may mutually agree to a payout in the final month of the benefit year of 50% or 100% of the employee’s unused sick time. If unused time is paid out in full, carryover is not required. If 50% is paid out, the remaining 50% will carry over. If the employee does not want to be paid out, or the employer chooses not to offer this option, all unused time up to 40 hours will carry over.

Employers may grant sick leave up front in a lump sum. When using the lump sum method, employers may either pay employees for unused sick leave at the end of the calendar year or allow carryover. With lump sum plans, whether to pay out or allow carryover is the employer’s choice – the agreement of the employee is not required. In no case will time be forfeit, unless it is in excess of the carryover limit of 40 hours.

Usage

Employees are eligible to use leave on their 120th day of employment. Sick time may be used for the following:

  • Diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or for preventive health care;
  • Diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or for preventive health care;
  • In the case of certain public health emergencies;
  • When time off is needed because the employee or a member of their family is a victim of domestic or sexual violence;
  • To attend a school-related conference or meeting.

Employers may set increments of use (e.g., one hour or four hours) but may not require an employee to use more time than they were scheduled to work during the shift they are missing. Employees may not be required to find their own replacement for a missed shift.

Employers may require reasonable documentation, such as a doctor’s note, if the employee uses sick leave for sickness or injury for three or more consecutive days.

If the need for leave is foreseeable, employers may require up to seven days’ notice.

Pay Out

When sick leave is used, it must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, but not less than the applicable minimum wage. Unused sick leave does not need to be paid out at the end of employment. Employees rehired within six months must be credited with their previously accrued and unused paid sick leave and allowed to use it immediately.

Notice to Employees

Employers must post a notice that will be produced by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, as well as provide that notice to each employee individually, no later than 30 days after the notice is made public. Employees hired after this time should be given the notice upon hire.

Action Items

Employers should create and implement a compliant sick leave policy by October 29. They should also watch for the Commissioner’s notice and distribute it to employees as required. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will likely release rules or FAQs prior to October that will assist employers in better understanding the law, but in the meantime additional information can be found on the HR Support Center.

Equal Pay Act

Effective July 1, 2018, New Jersey will have one of the strongest pay equity laws in the nation. The state joins Oregon in passing a law based not just on gender, but on all the protected classes recognized by the state. New Jersey protects employees from discrimination based on the following:

  • Race
  • Creed (religion)
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Nationality
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Civil union status
  • Domestic partnership status
  • Affectional or sexual orientation
  • Genetic information
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Sex
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait
  • Liability for service in the Armed Forces
  • Refusal to submit to or make the results of a genetic test available to an employer

The law makes it illegal to pay employees in a protected class less than those who are not when they do substantially similar work. To determine if work is substantially similar, employers should consider the skill, effort, and responsibility required.

Acceptable Reasons for a Pay Differential

An employer may pay a different rate of compensation only if it can show the following:

  1. That the differential is based on one or more legitimate, bona fide factors other than the characteristics of members of the protected class, such as training, education or experience, or the quantity or quality of production;
  2. That the factor or factors are not based on, and do not perpetuate, a differential in compensation based on sex or any other characteristic of members of a protected class (prior salary history would perpetuate unfair pay differentials, so should not be used);
  3. That each of the factors is applied reasonably;
  4. That one or more of the factors account for the entire wage differential; and
  5. That the factors are job-related with respect to the position in question and based on a legitimate business necessity. A factor based on business necessity will not apply if it is demonstrated that there are alternative business practices that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential.

Comparisons of wage rates will be based on all of an employer’s operations or facilities. It is likely that pay differentials based on cost of living (e.g., Long Branch v. Salem) will be acceptable, but claiming a pay differential is based on location when the cost of living is similar is unlikely to pass muster.

Discussion of Wages Must be Allowed

The law also prohibits employers from having policies that bar employees from discussing their wages, benefits, titles, and duties with other employees or former employees, attorneys, or government agencies. Likewise, employers may not retaliate against any employee for those discussions. Although non-supervisory employees’ right to discuss their wages are protected federally by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, those protections only kick in if two or more employees are acting together to improve their wages or working conditions. In contrast, the New Jersey law applies to all employees and does not require any group action for protection.

Action Items

  • Conduct a self-evaluation. Assess your overall pay structure, pay bands for job groups, and individual wages. Focus on whether differences in pay can be fully and reasonably explained by the factors allowed by the law. Adjust pay as needed. Be aware that you cannot lower the compensation of one or more employees to equalize pay.
  • Remove any policies related to pay secrecy from handbooks, confidentiality policies, and offer letters, and ensure that those with the authority to discipline are aware of the protections provided by the law.
  • Train anyone involved in the interview process to steer clear of salary history questions, as these will almost invariably affect the offer made to a candidate but will not be considered an acceptable reason for a pay differential. Likewise, remove questions about salary history from your applications forms and interview process.

 

Click here for NJ State Wage and Hour Laws and Regulations

 

Please contact your Payroll Specialist if you have additional questions. Not a client yet? Request a quote today!

New W-4 for 2019 Delayed

Following feedback from the payroll and tax communities, the Treasury Department and the IRS will incorporate important changes into a new version of the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, for 2020.  The 2019 version of the Form W-4 will be similar to the current 2018 version. A new draft version of the W-4 for 2019 will be available in the coming weeks.

The IRS will continue working closely with the payroll and the tax community as it makes additional changes to the Form W-4 for use in 2020. The new version will help employees improve withholding accuracy, and fully reflect changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

For the current 2018 tax year, the IRS continues to strongly urge taxpayers to review their tax withholding situation as soon as possible to avoid having too little or too much withheld from their paychecks. Click here to perform a quick “paycheck checkup” using the IRS withholding calculator.

 

Source: American Payroll Association

10 Ways to Improve Your Employee Handbook

 

When a new hire starts work at your bar or nightclub, you train and onboard them and give them your employee handbook to read through. And then they probably never see it again. Or, just as detrimentally, they forget everything they’ve read.

However, your handbook can be more engaging and more memorable.

Here are 10 ways to make it better:

1. Make it accessible, regularly.

“Many companies provide copies of their handbooks to employees at orientation and no one ever looks at it again,” says Nannina Angioni, a labor and employment attorney and partner of Kaedian LLP law firm in Los Angeles.

“Make it digital too,” says Christina Zaberto, HR manager with Associated HCM in Plainview, N.Y. This could be on an app or a web portal. “If it’s possible for people to get it on their cellphone, that’s the best bet, since they’ve always got it with them.”

Click here to read more…

 

What to Do if ICE Serves Your Business With a Form I-9 Audit

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has increased I-9 audits by more than 300 percent under the Trump administration. Is your business ready to respond to a notice of inspection from ICE?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been in the news quite a bit since the Trump administration came into office. Less covered than the stepped-up deportations, however, has been the surge in what are known as Form I-9 audits, in which ICE inspectors review businesses’ documentation regarding the work authorization for foreign employees.

I-9 audits can be consequential for employers who fail to comply with the law. Fines for failed I-9 audits can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and repeated willful violations of the law could even lead to criminal prosecution in rare cases.

Here’s a look at the I-9 audit review process, as well as advice from experts on how to proactively prepare for an I-9 audit if your business receives a notice of inspection from ICE.

Click here to read more…

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